Byrd breaks out in Cubs' win

May, 18, 2011
5/18/11
11:36
PM CT
Levine By Bruce Levine
ESPNChicago.com
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MIAMI -- Marlon Byrd was talking about being more aggressive with his at-bats before Wednesday’s game. Byrd had just seen his 16-game hitting streak come to an end on Tuesday, but the Cubs’ centerfielder was unhappy with his lack of run production.

All of that changed when Byrd went deep in the eighth inning Wednesday giving the Cubs a 6-5 lead in a game they eventually won 7-5 over the Marlins.

“After five straight strikeouts I finally put the bat on the ball,” Byrd said. “In my two previous at-bats, I got a little confidence, and I got a pitch I could drive in a big situation and put us up.”

The Cubs initially took a 3-1 lead on the Marlins only to watch starter Ryan Dempster give up four runs in the fifth inning. Reed Johnson’s two-run, pinch-hit homer in the sixth tied the game at 5. Byrd’s only other homer of the season came on May 14. Coming into his eighth-inning at-bat, he only had nine extra-base hits in 162 at-bats on the season.

Byrd admitted he and his teammates have been pressing after consecutive losses in Cincinnati.

[+] EnlargeCampana
AP Photo/J Pat CarterTony Campana has provided a spark in each of his two games in a Cubs uniform.

“Most definitely,” Byrd said. “When things aren’t going right, everybody wants to take it upon themselves to help this team win. Sometimes you try to do too much. It’s one of those things where we have to get going together soon before it’s too late. And right now seems like a good time.”

For the second straight night the Cubs new Energizer bunny, Tony Campana, made an impact on the game. Campana scored the go-ahead run in his first major league game in the seventh inning on Tuesday. He pinch ran for Alfonso Soriano in the eighth inning after the Cubs’ left fielder singled on Wednesday night. The newest Cub promptly stole second, went to third on Koyie Hill’s bunt then scored the Cubs’ seventh run with a head-first slide on a grounder to third base, barely beating the tag.

“This is the way I see using him right now,” Manager Mike Quade said. “It’s a perfect situation if we get Soriano on late in the game and then why waste a bunt? We put Tony in. Let’s find out if he can steal a base. Then we bunt him to third. It’s a nice tool to have. And he’s a pretty good player.”

Bruce Levine | email

Chicago baseball beat reporter
Bruce Levine has covered sports in Chicago for over 28 years and hosts "Talkin' Baseball," heard Saturday mornings on ESPN 1000.

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Jake Arrieta
WINS ERA SO IP
10 2.53 167 156
OTHER LEADERS
BAS. Castro .292
HRA. Rizzo 32
RBIA. Rizzo 78
RA. Rizzo 89
OPSA. Rizzo .913
ERAT. Wood 5.03
SOJ. Arrieta 167